An Illuminated Parisian Book of Hours Printed on Vellum


Hore dive virginis Marie, secundum usum Romanorum, cum aliis multis, folio sequenti notatis, una cum figuris Apocalipsis, et multis figuris Biblie insertis [With a calendar for 1513-1527]

Paris: Gilles Hardouyn for Germain Hardouyn, 9 August, 1514


Octavo: Printed on vellum.. 16.2 x 10.5 cm. 112 lvs. Collation: A-O8. Complete


With 43 illustrations, 14 of them full page, all but 1 (the printer’s device on the final leaf) hand painted in colors and gold. Bound in early 18th c. velvet over wooden boards (remboîtage), with ornate open-work metal corner pieces, catches, one clasp (of 2) and a central ornament with unidentified arms on each board. Binding with moderate wear, upper hinge split, one clasp lacking. Contents in fine condition with minor blemishes, occ. stains or smudges to the margins, and a small, clean tear to the final leaf (no loss). Margins cut a bit close trimming the edges of the painted border, but far from the illustrations.

Printed at Paris by Gilles Hardouyn (?1455-?1529) for his brother Germain Hardouyn (d. 1541) at his printshop at the sign of the golden rose near the Pont Notre-Dame. The illustrations were probably produced in the workshop of the Parisian artist Jean Pichore (fl. 1500-1520, Paris), whose influence can be seen most notably in the use of illusionistic perspective in many of the scenes. In the colophon, Germain Hardouyn is described as a most skillful illuminator of books “in arte litterariae picturae peritissimus”. This book was probably illuminated in the Hardouyn workshop.

On the recto of the first leaf is Gilles Hardouyn’s full-page device with Hercules, the centaur Nessus, and Deïaneira (Renouard 429) and, on the verso of the final leaf, a second device (Renouard 431). 

Colophon: Parisius recenter impressum, per Egidum Hardouyn, impressorem et librarium ... expensis vero honesti viri Germani Hardouyn, etiam librarii, et in arte litterarie picture peritissimi ... anno Domini millesimo quingentesimo decimo quarto, nona die mensis

Lacombe, Livres d'heures imprimés au XVe et XVIe siècle conservés dans les bibliothèques publiques de Paris, catalogue, no 251 (p. 146); Renouard, ICP, II, 865; Bohatta, 959; Van Praet, I, n° 116 and 132; Brunet 243; Renouard, Les marques typographiques parisiennes des XVe et XVIe siècles, 429 and 431. Another velum copy is held at the Bibliothèque Genève Switzerland.